CONWAY — The jury found Alyssa Dayvault of North Myrtle Beach guilty on two counts of homicide by child abuse on Thursday afternoon, wrapping up a yearslong process after Dayvault killed two of her newborn children by throwing them in the trash, a baby girl in 2017 and a baby boy in 2018.
Dayvault was not in the courtroom as the verdict was read, with her whereabouts still unknown, according to the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office.
Chris Matechen, Dayvault's ex-boyfriend and the biological father of the two babies, was in the courtroom Thursday afternoon when the verdict was read and appeared before the judge during the sentencing phase.
"For two years, I've been living with this burden, no type of closure — or anything like that," Matechen said. "She's been able to walk the streets for the last eight months — a free woman."
John Matechen, the grandfather of the deceased newborns, thanked the judge for the entire judicial process but questioned why Dayvault wasn't being monitored. He said the whole ordeal has been hard on his family.
"Our emotions are shot," Matechen said. "We haven't eaten in three days. There's an empty seat over there."
Matechen felt that Dayvault should have been wearing a monitoring device to assure that she would have been in the courtroom.
Dayvault now faces life in prison, just seven months removed from rejecting a plea deal that would have had a recommended sentence of 30 to 35 years if she chose to plead guilty to one count.
Judge Steven John sealed the sentence until Dayvault can be found and brought to court.
Dayvault, who has two living children, has not been present at the trial, which started Monday morning with jury selection. When she did not appear, a bench warrant was issued by John.
The trial continued without her, with arguments by both the defense and prosecution wrapping up in less than 48 hours.
Seven total witnesses were called in by the state while the defense did not call up any before resting.
Dayvault was charged in 2018 and granted bond in May 2019 — the reason she wasn't already in custody prior to the trial.